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Riverwood Rezoning Proposal

Hansard ID: HANSARD-1323879322-140160

Hansard session: Fifty-Eighth Parliament, First Session (58-1)

Riverwood Rezoning Proposal

Mr MARK COURE (Oatley) (20:51:39):

I inform the House of the current status of the revised Riverwood rezoning proposal. As many of my constituents know, I am incredibly passionate about our local infrastructure. Since being elected in 2011 I have fought hard each and every day to ensure that my community receives its fair share. This is why, upon reviewing the draft Riverwood housing proposal in 2022, I was shocked to see that there would be a lack of infrastructure to accompany the almost 4,000 new dwellings that were being proposed by the Land and Housing Corporation. Despite these thousands of new residents who would be moving into the local area, the traffic and transport assessment was average at best. The infrastructure proposed was simply not good enough. Belmore Road is already an incredibly busy arterial thoroughfare, and I know firsthand that locals would not want to sit for an hour and a half in traffic just to enter or leave their own suburb.

I quickly got to work to ensure that the Land and Housing Corporation was made fully aware of my community's concerns. I started a grassroots community petition, which received over 750 signatures, calling on the Land and Housing Corporation to reconsider the inappropriate development in Riverwood. Before the last election, my community and I fought hard. And, thanks to this strong advocacy from local residents in Riverwood and surrounding suburbs such as Lugarno, Peakhurst, Narwee and Beverly Hills, we were successful in having the Land and Housing Corporation go back to the drawing board. The community made clear that the department needed to come up with a new plan that would suit our community's needs and not impact on the available infrastructure.

Earlier this month a revised proposal for the Riverwood housing estate was announced, and I glad to say that common sense and community advocacy prevailed. The new proposal announced was that, instead of the proposed 3,900 new homes, approximately 420 new homes will be delivered, of which 50 per cent will be social and affordable housing and the rest will be private dwellings. I was pleased to see that Homes NSW listened to our community campaign and respected local residents' wishes. In its reasoning for the revised plans, Homes NSW said:

The previous delivery program of 25-30 years was considered too large to properly assess the adequate and proportional provision of community infrastructure requirements for an additional 3,900 homes.

This is what my community had been highlighting for so long, and we are now seeing sensible plans that will guarantee the delivery of supporting infrastructure via State and local contributions, which I will continue to fight for to ensure that it eventuates.

My local community deserves only the best roads, public transport, high-quality school infrastructure, local parks and sporting infrastructure if it is to cope with this new Government's broader housing push. I do not doubt that we need to do all we can to support housing supply and particularly boost supply for social and affordable housing. But we cannot have thousands of new residents move in without upgrades to essential infrastructure. It is not fair to current residents or to anyone wanting to call the St George area home in the future. For years my community has been calling for this kind of commonsense approach to planning, where increases in population must be matched with further investments into our schools, hospitals, parks and roads.

We know that challenges will still be associated with this proposal moving forward, and we know that it will not be all smooth sailing. We know this because the current New South Wales Government does not care for communities' views when it comes to broader planning reforms. Instead, its "get out of the way" approach is demonstrated by its proposed State environmental planning policies, a lazy and one-size-fits-all approach. This would allow our town centres to be inappropriately rezoned, overriding local planning controls and leading to more traffic and congestion, and the potential loss of heritage value in our communities. It seems as if this Government is not interested in developing a proper infrastructure plan to support sensible development. We need to ensure that development in our local area is well informed and sustainable in the future. This is why I remain committed to championing my community's needs and wishes.